Television

Animal Kingdom Season 6 Episode 12 Review: Exodus


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J officially made his move, and nothing will ever be the same again.

If there were any doubts whatsoever that J planned to screw over his uncles and has had a long game in mind this entire time, it was put to bed during Animal Kingdom Season 6 Episode 12.

The penultimate episode of the series put all the pieces into place for what should be an explosive series finale that will have us talking.

Saying Goodbye to Oceanside - Animal Kingdom Season 6 Episode 12

Julia has been so prominent throughout Animal Kingdom Season 6, but in this particular installment, she had such a presence in both the past and the present for J.

We literally opened with J visiting her grave, which frustratingly is right there along with Smurf and Baz. It set the tone for where J’s head is and why he’d feel a certain way or remain on this steady path towards vengeance.

The Pope Situation -tall - Animal Kingdom Season 6 Episode 10

Julia can’t even rest in peace. She’s beside the worst person in the world and shares this space with someone she genuinely loved who betrayed her.

They end-capped the hour with J’s plan in place to screw his uncles, but they begin the installment by showing what he’s doing this for in the first place.

Julia: Call me a slut and a little girl and let’s get those over with.
Smurf: I’m not going to punish you. I’m actually going to give you what you want. Your freedom.
Julia: What does that mean?
Smurf: Get out of my house.

And the flashbacks felt more pertinent than ever this time. It’s no secret that the flashbacks have been hit or miss for many viewers. Sometimes it felt like they were beating a dead horse with them and what we were supposed to take away from it.

They could’ve cut them down or did some time jumps to cover more ground. However, they didn’t feel like filler anymore because Smurf throwing Julia out was clearly the ultimate turning point in this family.

Poolside-tall - Animal Kingdom Season 6 Episode 11

Julia couldn’t hide that she stole money from Smurf forever, but it’s ironic how much Smurf encouraged her daughter to be a thief, but she didn’t want any of that directed toward her.

Sadly, Julia didn’t anticipate that stealing Smurf’s money would be the last straw and it would give her the excuse she needed to cut Julia off forever.

Even though we knew how Julia’s story ended, the entire sequence of Smurf confronting Julia and dragging her out of the house was so tough to watch and unbearable.

Leila George and Jasper Polish were truly at their best during that sequence, and it was enough to turn a girl’s stomach. George’s transformation into the Barkin version of Smurf has been incredible.

Mother-Daughter Tiff  - Animal Kingdom Season 6 Episode 1

From the mannerisms and cadence when delivering signature Smurf lines to that gravelly voice and all, it’s uncanny how much she has BECOME Smurf. It’s part of what made that sequence of events so twisted.

Smurf striking Julia, calling her derogatory names, and dragging her out of the house by her hair was gut-wrenching. She left Julia with absolutely nothing but the clothes on her back. It takes you back to all the ways that Julia tried to be self-sufficient, and Smurf snatched them away.

You know what? Take your drugs. You’re going to need them when you’re on your knees giving blow jobs to truck drivers at the gas station.

Smurf

Smurf loves people to be totally dependent on her so that she can wield all the power during moments like this when she leaves them high and dry. She treated Julia like a dog in the street and a mooch, but she stood in the way of Julia standing on her own at every conceivable turn.

And then she ensured that the boys couldn’t help Julia either. As much of an asshole as he is, Baz comes from such a rough background that it makes sense that he wouldn’t want to jeopardize the stability he’s garnered under Smurf.

Teen Baz - Animal Kingdom Season 6 Episode 1

It was heartbreaking when Julia humbled herself by going to him, and he still tossed money at her and kicked her to the curb.

And Pope, Smurf had her talons buried so deeply into him that there was no saving him, it seems. He was appalled by his mother’s actions and scared for his sister, but you could tell he felt helpless.

Julia was the only one who was never afraid to rock the boat with Smurf and was far braver than the boys, but it didn’t do her any good.

We also saw that moment when she chose to go with Thorpe, despite his offer of heroin. She couldn’t last a day on the street before she fell into the wrong crowd and got high. And Smurf seemed unfazed by this!

Twin Judgment -tall - Animal Kingdom Season 6 Episode 4

But I guess you cannot expect much from a woman who implied that her daughter’s fate would be giving truck drivers blowjobs for money. The cruelty is beyond words.

And now, we’ve witnessed the origins of Julia and her tragic descent. Everything she’s ever done was to try to make a better life for herself, protect Pope, and stand up to Smurf, but she couldn’t withstand it.

By showing this and juxtaposing it with J’s plotting in the present, it gives us enough context to shade in J’s potential betrayal, so he doesn’t come across as quite so villainous.

But did it make anyone else wonder if Julia is still alive? It’s an outlandish theory, perhaps, but how shocking would it be if we learned that a brilliant Julia sent her mastermind of a son after the Codys for revenge?

Defiant Daughter -tall - Animal Kingdom Season 6 Episode 5

If we got to see the fall of Julia, a lovely twist would be to learn that she managed to overcome that and instilled a long-con with J to take over the kingdom completely. We never got a close-up of Julia when she died, so is it possible that she faked her death?

And Smurf hadn’t seen Julia in years, so who’s to say she would’ve recognized a strung-out woman with an uncanny resemblance to her daughter? Can you imagine how utterly insane it would be if we found out that J was reporting to his mother the entire time?

If Smurf’s brilliant estranged daughter got clean, she’s the one who orchestrated her mother and Cody’s slow downfall and used her outcasted son to do it.

Julia was somewhat capable of pulling off jobs and other criminal things because of her upbringing, so it could be within the realm of her capabilities.

1992 - Animal Kingdom

It just felt like they could’ve been telegraphing that with J visiting Julia’s grave, bringing her up, using photographs of her as a ruse to talk to Pope and get him that GPS, and so much more.

Of course, it could simply be that I’m way off, and instead, J’s foreshadowing his betrayal. The only thing missing from that prison conversation with Pope was J flat-out staying “For Julia” to him.

Interestingly, while J is using Penny, he seems to love her. Was he playing things up so that she’d give into what he wanted, or does he genuinely intend to whisk her away to Fiji or the Virgin Islands with him?

J is such a difficult read.

Visiting Pope -tall - Animal Kingdom Season 6 Episode 12

He casually laid the foundation for why he must leave and part ways with his uncles. The funny thing is that he wasn’t necessarily lying when he told her that his uncles never trusted him, treated him like a child, and so forth.

They haven’t given J recognition for the extent of what he’s done until recently, so it’s a bit of a too little too late situation. Although, he downplayed how incredibly dangerous he is and that he actually has the second largest body count of the four.

J: Me and my uncles are splitting up. We’re going to get away from each other.
Penny: What?
J: I never really felt comfortable working with my uncles. They treat me like a kid even though I tripled their business assets. They don’t respect me. They don’t like me. I think I’m going to go to the Virgin Islands or Fiji or something.
Penny: Permanently?
J: Yeah.

In another instance of Penny and Julia parallels, Penny is as smitten by J as Julia was with Baz, and both men let these ladies down.

Penny shouldn’t have risked her career and livelihood for a client she just met recently who she knows has a dangerous edge to him.

Penny  - Animal Kingdom Season 6 Episode 1

At this risk of being crass here, just how good is J’s dick that he f**ked the good sense out of Penny, and she changed that paperwork for him and gave him permanent control of the money?

He could’ve still left his uncles with his share of the estate and been okay, yes?

If J was worried about his safety, stealing from his scary, dangerous, killer uncles didn’t seem like a bright idea.

If I were Penny, I would’ve had some more questions, but alas, when a girl is in love and dickmatized, there’s no reasoning with them.

J and Penny Date  - Animal Kingdom Season 6 Episode 4

Penny came through for J, so in hindsight, he could run off with the money now and leave the guys hanging for this big prison transfer. However, they showed him at the stash house alone when Deran was texting him, so J might just be going nuclear.

Craig gave J credit for “setting them up” with the money and assets, but little does he know, J is probably setting him up in a whole other way. You have to love the foreshadowing, right?

Can I keep one of those pictures? The one of me and Julia?

Pope

Pope stressed me out when he was talking to the cops and admitting to other murders and heists, but it makes sense that the best way to break Pope out is during a prison transfer, and that’s how he could obtain it.

I cannot remember who Colby Bennett was — was it one of the cousins or someone else? Pope has killed his fair share of people.

Prison Transfer-tall - Animal Kingdom Season 6 Episode 12

I’m genuinely concerned about this GPS chip he planted through his knife wound. Now that we know J has ulterior motives, it makes you wonder if he’s setting Pope up to get murdered since he put a hit out on him.

Meanwhile, Deran and Craig were saying their goodbyes to Oceanside in their own way. Deran locking up the bar didn’t have the emotional impact you would expect, but that’s because Deran has felt a bit aimless and disconnected from his surroundings and other people all season.

Craig: I want you to marry me in Thailand on an elephant.
Renn: Are you kidding me?
Craig: No.
Renn: Craig, if you’re kidding me, I will cut you.
Craig: I’m not kidding you. I’m asking you. I want you to marry me.

Craig proposing to Renn was a bit of a surprise. She traded in Texas for Thailand but didn’t seem to enjoy it that much. However, things could be different when Craig arrives. Can you imagine if we do get to see those two get married on an Elephant in Thailand during the finale?

It’s hard to figure out how to feel about those two possibly getting married because they’re both such hot messes. Renn lost a lot of her likability this season, so rooting for them as a pairing is hard.

One Last Surf  - Animal Kingdom Season 6 Episode 12

And could there be some foreshadowing for an Adrian appearance?

Craig has always been the biggest supporter of Deran and Adrian, and it makes sense that if he and his brother have to part ways possible for the rest of their lives, he’d want Deran to find his other person and be happy.

Deran is Indonesia-bound, and Craig gave him the encouragement he probably needs to make things right with Adrian when he gets there. Who knows?

Maybe the grumpiest Cody will have his happy ending with the love of his life after all.

Reminscining -tall - Animal Kingdom Season 6 Episode 12

Of course, all of this depends on this job going well, and with J’s ulterior motives coming to light and him leaving the others with ten bucks to their names, it feels like we’ll be having a Cody showdown in store during the finale.

Over to you, Animal Kingdom Fanatics.

Deran: I’m going to Indo, I won’t be missing out on any waves.
Craig: You gonna call him.
Deran: Who?
Craig: You know who.
Deran: I don’t know. I doubt he’ll want to see me.
Craig: So. What do you want?
Deran: I don’t know.
Craig: The happiest I ever saw you was when you and Adrian moved in together. You should find him.

What did you think of this installment? What’s your reaction to Smurf kicking Julia out? Will J go through with his plans? What are your theories and predictions for the finale? Sound off below.

If you need a refresher ahead of the series finale, you can watch Animal Kingdom online here via TV Fanatic.

Stay tuned and keep an eye out for more exclusive Animal Kingdom content!

Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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